Falling Valuations: Poison for Venture Capital by Brad Stone
In a quarterly study of venture financings published Friday, Fenwick & West, a Silicon Valley law firm, found that so-called “down rounds” in the second quarter of 2009 exceeded “up rounds,” 46 percent to 32 percent. Last quarter was similarly bad – with 46 percent down rounds and 25 percent up rounds.
In a down round, a start-up issues more stock with a lower valuation than in previous rounds, which means that the equity of previous investors has shrunk. This is poison for the V.C. industry, which depends on returning large bounties to its investors, who have plenty of safer asset classes in which to invest their money.